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New Year’s Day Bowls Roundup: Comebacks, Broken Records and More

It’s New Year’s Day, and you know what that means ... a full slate of college football bowl games!

Play began at noon ET, but check back for updates on each game as the day progresses.

Outback Bowl: No. 21 Arkansas 24, Penn State 10

KJ Jefferson picked up 104 of his 110 rushing yards in the second half and threw for 90 more to lead Arkansas past Penn State (7–6). Arkansas (9–4), coming off four consecutive seasons of four or fewer wins, got its first nine-win year since going 11–2 in 2011. The Razorbacks also played in their first bowl game since the 2016 Belk Bowl.

Arkansas's secret weapon ... John Daly, and pizza?

Regardless of the result, the Outback Bowl might be the best gift that keeps on giving:

Meanwhile, things got a little rough for Penn State late in the first half:

Fiesta Bowl: No. 9 Oklahoma State 37, No. 5 Notre Dame 35
  • Oklahoma State rallied from a 28–7 deficit to beat Notre Dame, the largest comeback in the program's history. The Fighting Irish have now lost 11 straight bowl games (NY6, coalition, BCS and CFP) and are without a New Year's Six bowl victory since 1994.

    Marcus Freeman was making his debut as Irish coach after taking over for Brian Kelly, who left for LSU before the College Football Playoff field was even announced.

    Earlier in the week, the Oklahoma State marching band also paid a small tribute to Notre Dame after the Irish's band could not make the trip to Arizona:

    Fiesta Bowl predictions? This rock star from the Phoenix Zoo picked the Irish:

    Citrus Bowl: No. 22 Kentucky 20, No. 15 Iowa 17
  • Iowa QB Spencer Petras threw three interceptions as Iowa fell to Kentucky on Saturday, the last of which sealed a narrow UK win. Wildcats receiver Wan’Dale Robinson had a big day, catching 10 passes from quarterback Will Levis for 170 yards.

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    Rose Bowl: No. 6 Ohio State 48, No. 11 Utah 45

    The Buckeyes edged the Utes in a thrilling Rose Bowl, winning the game on Noah Ruggles's 19-yard field goal in the final seconds. The two teams played an explosive opening half in Pasadena, combining for 56 points as Utah built a 35–21 halftime lead. 

    But the day belonged to Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who hauled in a monster 347 receiving yards that set the FBS bowl-game record. Smith-Njigba did it on 15 catches, including scoring three touchdowns. Quarterback C.J. Stroud broke the Rose Bowl passing record with 573 yards and six touchdowns.

    Utah's Britain Covey provided some first-half fireworks when he ran back a kickoff 97 yards to the house. The electric senior returner and receiver started his college career back in 2015 and now closed it on New Year's Day, 2022. Covey also caught a touchdown on the day.

    The Buckeyes were missing a significant number of scholarship players. The Athletic's Bill Landis reported that 24 players will not appear in the game due to a combination of season-long injuries, transfers since the end of the regular season, recent injuries and opt-outs.

    Utah starting QB Cameron Rising left the game after a scary play in the fourth quarter and never returned. Rising recorded 306 total yards in the loss.

    Sugar Bowl: No. 7 Baylor 21, No. 8 Ole Miss 7

    The game got off to a tough start, as Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral went down on a sack in the first quarter and had to be helped off the field. Corral was later carted to the locker room to receive X-rays. A top NFL prospect, Corral previously explained why he decided to play in the Sugar Bowl.

    With Corral out, the Rebels' offense largely sputtered, despite some flashes shown by freshman QB Luke Altmyer. The swarming Baylor defense held Mississippi to one score, with Al Walcott's 96-yard pick-six in the second quarter standing out as a game highlight.

    The Bears, in Dave Aranda's second season, finish 12–2 with a Big 12 championship to boot, while Ole Miss drops to 10–3.

    The Final Word

    It goes to the legendary Betty White, as it should:

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    Nick Saban's Juggernaut Strikes Again in CFP